When easy-going Texas artist Dakin McBride makes his way to Ottawa, Canada for a showing, he meets Jeff Tamrin, ultra-competent manager of the Sussex Gallery. Despite coming from different worlds the attraction is immediate, and soon Dakin and Jeff negotiate their own brand of diplomatic relations, forgetting all about art or seeing the sights the city has to offer. They get wrapped up in the moment, both of them intrigued by what the feel for each other.
The more they get to know each other, the more they like what they see. Dakin has a life to go back to in Texas, though, and Jeff has his own in Canada. The two of them try to find a way to make their growing love survive in this fast paced High Ball.
''My missing art! Wonderful. It's very nice to meet you.'' And if he held onto Mr. McBride's hand just a little too long, well maybe the man would get the idea that it was very nice to meet him.
''Not missing at all. Just waiting for a place to land.'' Those blue eyes looked around the gallery, taking in the chaos, the lights. ''Nice place.''
''Don't judge her yet, she cleans up really nicely. Would you like the tour?'' Or a drink? Lord, he needed to get out more.
The cell went off again and he sighed, flipping it open. ''Not now, Jenni, I'm busy.'' Then he closed it and gave Dakin McBride his best smile.
Dakin chuckled, took off the cowboy hat and nodded. The dark hair was caught back in a tie, the mass of curls spread over the back of the black shirt. ''I'd love a look-see, if you have time. My boxes should be in town first thing in the morning.''
''Excellent. I'm looking forward to seeing your stuff. It's an exciting exhibition Jenni's putting together.'' He took Dakin's arm to lead him into the main show area. ''Oh! Do you want some coffee, Dakin? May I call you Dakin?''
''I'd love some, thanks, and Dakin's just fine.'' He got another warm, slow smile. ''I'm around for a couple weeks, sight-seeing, so you might see a little of me.''
''Well that would be all right, I like the little I see so far.'' He detoured back to the counter with the pot and poured out a mug. ''How do you take it?''
''Black, thanks.'' There was a little hemp necklace resting around Dakin's throat, a single hematite bead in the middle. Yum.
''So where are you staying?'' he asked casually, handing the cup over and nodding back toward the main room.
''The... uh...'' Dakin fumbled in his shirt pocket, squinting a little at a business card. ''Capital Hill Suites? Seems nice enough, but not too harsh on the pocketbook.''
''They're over on Albert, aren't they? Being downtown is good -- you can walk pretty much everywhere.'' He walked into the middle of the large room. ''This is the biggest room we have. It takes up most of the main floor bar the reception area, a small office, and storage in the back. Upstairs is six smaller areas. You can see the large windows and skylights offer a lot of natural lighting. And we supplement with spots.''
''Yeah? I have a few entire hides -- y'all realize they take up a lot of room, right?''
He doubted very much that Jenni realized it, but he'd done his homework before the invitations had been sent out. ''Indeed. We're planning on putting a few pieces from everyone down here on the main floor and then a room for each artist upstairs. Did you want to see the room I've assigned you?''
He tried not to think how much like ''come see my etchings'' that sounded. Did people even say that or was it apocryphal?